Release type: Transcript

Date:

2GB Interview with Ben Fordham

Ministers:

The Hon Alan Tudge MP
Minister for Education and Youth

Subjects: Child care relief package and new proposed school curriculum

BEN FORDHAM:

Well, there's more relief coming for childcare. The Federal Government has announced a new $1.7 billion package. It could save families with more than one child under five up to $125 a week. However, don't expect it any time soon, it won't be ready until July next year. The Federal Education Minister, Alan Tudge, is with us on the line. Minister, good morning to you.

ALAN TUDGE:

Good morning, Ben.

BEN FORDHAM:

Why are we waiting so long?

ALAN TUDGE:

The advice from my Department is that, that's the best time to start, given the technology changes which need to be made and implemented. So, if we can bring that forward, we will. But we just want to be cautious in relation to the implementation.

BEN FORDHAM:

You're saying a quarter of a million families will benefit from this?

ALAN TUDGE:

That is exactly right. And so an average family, say, earning $110,000 collectively, they've got a couple of kids in child care, they'll be $95 a week better off as a result of this. Our package is specifically targeted, Ben, at families with two or more kids, because we know that's when your expenses start to add up. And that's why we've got a measured package that's targeted and really helps those that need the additional assistance.

BEN FORDHAM:

A listener writes to me this morning, please ask Alan Tudge if child care costs will be frozen at the current rate. They're concerned that child care providers will see this policy and think, okay, we'll get in ahead of it and jack up the rates.

ALAN TUDGE:

Yeah, we'll keep a very close eye on that, Ben. We introduced a price cap about three or four years ago, and that has the benefit of putting those downward pressure on prices. And we know that 88 per cent of child care centres today still operate within that price cap. And we'll keep an eye on this, and we're, we’re open to changes should we need to down the track in relation to that.

BEN FORDHAM:

I'm keen to hear from parents, your thoughts on the new policy, 131-873. As Education Minister, Alan Tudge, I want to ask you about the proposed new school curriculum. I see a lot of people ripping it to shreds, including the Indigenous leader, Warren Mundine. You've got the Minister in New South Wales for Corrections, Anthony Roberts, who says it's neo-Marxist rubbish. The Education Minister in New South Wales, Sarah Mitchell, criticising the lack of focus on fundamentals like maths and English. There don't seem to be too many people getting in the queue to support it.

ALAN TUDGE:

Now, this is a draft and there's some good aspects to it, and there's also some concerning aspects to it and there's certainly some parts which I would not support. But it is a draft, it’s out there for public consultation, and we want people's feedback on it before it comes back to state and federal ministers to approve later in the year. My main concern, Ben, is that we use it as an opportunity to increase standards overall, because our standards have slipped over the last 20 years, and we're now three years behind Singapore, for example, in relation to mathematics. So we've got to reverse that decline, get back to where we were, and the curriculum is a very important tool to do that.

BEN FORDHAM:

Just another one, if I can, Minister. The former Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, says Scott Morrison should be giving a job to Kevin Rudd and Malcolm Turnbull. They both seem to be pretty keen on the sidelines these days to offer an opinion, Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull. What do you make of the idea from Peter Beattie that Scott Morrison should be giving them both a job?

ALAN TUDGE:

I think they're both very capable at finding jobs themselves, and I'm not sure if they actually need it they're both wealthy individuals. I think that people like Julia Gillard, and Tony Abbott, and John Howard have been exemplars as ex-prime ministers. They've all made significant contributions having left office. They make public comments as required, but I think that's the model which others should follow.

BEN FORDHAM:

We appreciate your time.

ALAN TUDGE:

Thanks very much for that, Ben.

BEN FORDHAM:

Alan Tudge, the Federal Education Minister.